2011 NFL Draft: Possible Destinations for Cam Newton
For all of the unfortunate NFL teams who enter the 2011 NFL Draft with a need at quarterback, a decision must be made. They must choose between drafting a quarterback, waiting until free agency to fill their need or pressing on with what they have.
The teams that decide to draft a quarterback have quite a group to chose from. The most controversial member of this group is Auburn QB Cameron Newton.
Newton, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, is widely considered the best quarterback available in the 2011 NFL Draft.
While refraining from entering the debate of whether or not Newton will be a success in the NFL, I present the top five teams that may be interested in drafting Newton.
Honorable Mention: Cincinnati Bengals
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Should the Cincinnati Bengals draft a quarterback? Yes. Will the Cincinnati Bengals draft a quarterback? No. While Carson Palmer has requested a trade and even gone so far as to sell his Cincinnati home, Bengals owner Mike Brown seems positive that Palmer will be wearing a Bengals uniform in 2011.
Newton's development could be a concern for the Bengals. If Newton takes a few years to develop into a solid NFL quarterback, and the Bengals suffer in the process, Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis could find himself without a job. That is reason enough for the Bengals to skip over Newton in the 2011 Draft.
Honorable Mention: San Francisco 49ers
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The 49ers had quarterback troubles in 2010, as they flip-flopped between quarterbacks Alex Smith and Troy Smith. The 49ers seemingly could use a quarterback, but recently they have said that would like Alex Smith to return.
With the new regime of former Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh settling into place, the 49ers would like to have as few areas to worry about as possible.
If they are pleased, or pleased enough, with Alex Smith, then they can use their seventh overall pick on a different player to fill a different need.
5. Arizona Cardinals
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Although the Arizona Cardinals had three starting quarterbacks throughout the 2010 season, four if you count Matt Leinart in the preseason, they are still in major need of a quarterback going into 2011.
Veteran quarterback Derek Anderson and rookie quarterbacks John Skelton and Max Hall all had a rough season in 2010. While the Cardinals seem to have some faith in Skelton after he has had a few years to develop, they need an immediate fix.
Personally, I think the Cardinals should go after a veteran quarterback through free agency, such as Marc Bulger. However, the lockout has caused much uncertainty regarding free agency, such as will there even be free agency before the start of the 2011 season.
The Cardinals would be wise to add a quarterback in the 2011 Draft, whether it be Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert at fifth overall, or another quarterback later on in the draft.
4. Tennessee Titans
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After a feud between former Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher and Titans quarterback Vince Young, which led to the departure of Fisher, Young finds himself next to go. Titans owner Bud Adams announced that Young would not be on the Titans roster in 2011.
The Titans have 38-year-old veteran quarterback Kerry Collins on the roster, and he is interested in returning to the Titans in 2011.
The Titans may feel that they would better off adding a young quarterback, instead of inserting Kerry Collins into the starting lineup for another season.
If the Titans choose to draft a quarterback, Cam Newton may be the man for them. The Titans select at eighth overall, so Newton just may be one the board when the Titans are on the clock.
3. Minnesota Vikings
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While it's never certain when he will really call it quits, something tells me that the "Silver Fox" won't be returning to the Minnesota Vikings.
Without Brett Favre, the Vikings have to decide if they want to move forward with quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Joe Webb, or go ahead and draft a QB.
Should they choose to draft a QB, it is uncertain which quarterbacks will be available when they select at 12th overall. However, if Cam Newton is one the board, the Vikings should take a good look at him.
I think Newton would be a good fit in the Vikings offense. With deep threats in Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin to throw to, Newton and his powerful arm would get plenty of opportunities to make plays deep downfield.
Newton is an agile quarterback, similar to Tarvaris Jackson, who led the Vikings' offense before Favre came to Minnesota. If the Vikings went ahead and drafted Newton, I believe he would have a successful career with the Vikings.
2. Washington Redskins
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It is amazing how quickly things changed for Donovan McNabb in one season. McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins prior to the 2010 season. In the middle of the 2010 season, McNabb signed a five-year extension worth $78 million.
Things fell apart quickly, however. McNabb had his worst season since his rookie season in 1999, and he was even benched for the final games of the 2010 season, in favor of Rex Grossman.
Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan said that McNabb isn't even guaranteed a starting role in 2011, and in all likelihood, McNabb will be traded, or even cut.
If McNabb leaves the Redskins, they will have to find a new quarterback, or move forward with Rex Grossman. They will choose to find a new quarterback.
Newton may be available to the Redskins at 10th overall. If he is, I believe the Redskins should consider selecting him.
1. Carolina Panthers
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Let me begin this by saying that I personally disagree with many who believe that Cam Newton should go first overall to the Carolina Panthers.
I agree the Panthers need a quarterback, and I agree that Jimmy Clausen is not the guy for them, but I don't think that Newton is right for them either. However, I cannot deny that Newton to the Panthers makes sense.
Newton is the quarterback who has the spotlight prior to the draft. Blaine Gabbert, who some believe is the best quarterback prospect, hasn't received the same attention that Newton has.
Newton has the accomplishments to deserve a No. 1 selection. He led Auburn to a national championship, and he won the Heisman. That should be enough to make him a lock for the first overall selection.
The doubt surrounding Newton is due to his lack of experience in an NFL-style offense. If the Panthers are willing to take a chance on Newton and select him with the first overall pick, they can craft their offense around him and hopefully have success with him in the future.
Where Will He Land?
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Cam Newton may be the most controversial player in the entire 2011 draft class. Newton is a quarterback with the achievements to prove that he has played at an elite level, but he also has the red flags that fuel the fires of doubt within the skeptics.
Regardless of which team decides to take Newton, that team may end up with a quarterback who takes a few years to develop, and may struggle for a few seasons, or they may end up with a Pro Bowl QB who captains their offense for years to come.